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Company donates $50,000 barn to help Cape organization; Charley destroyed first

By Staff | May 16, 2008

Non-profit organizations live and die by their ability to raise funds, operating sometimes solely on the good will of others.

Tender Loving Care Homes for Children, a Cape Coral faith-based organization specializing in keeping family members together when situations arise that cause children to be separated from their parents, is no different.

One of its fund-raising avenues was badly damaged by Hurricane Charley and has been down for the count ever since. TLC used its barn to raise funds by renting space.

Now a new barn — valued at $50,000 — is being donated to TLC by Compass Construction.

“The barn allows us self-sufficiency,” said Ruth Wilburn, director of public relations for TLC. “It gives us barn space to rent, and allows the children to have animals to love and play with. Horses are incredibly healing.”

Founded in 1995 by Sherry Magness, TLC acts like a first line of defense for families in crisis. The facility keeps children out of the Department of Children and Families, saving taxpayers money in the process.

As a voluntary placement home, TLC has been successful over the last 13 years, despite a struggle to raise funds. Just recently it took in its 100th child.

Wilburn said Compass Construction donated the barn because the company understands the needs of the organization and the children TLC serves.

“They see the need for what we do, and they know it’ll make a big difference for these kids,” she said.

Compass Marketing Director Vikki Luft saw the opportunity to help TLC as a no-brainer. As a member of the Cape community for the last 24 years, the business was looking for a chance to help.

“We’re very community oriented and we were looking for a really good organization to donate to,” Luft said. “It’s really turned out to be wonderful, more than wonderful. When you see these children and how hard they work at TLC to keep families together, its just so touching.”

Luft also reported that some of Compass’s subcontractors — including Suncoast Supply, Acra Electric, Honc Destruction and Crowther Roofing — have offered their services, too.

“We’re very proud of the fact we’re doing it, and keeping the money in our community. It’s been exciting so far,” Luft said.

There are countless reasons that children find themselves in the care of TLC. Whether it is incarceration, rehabilitation or homelessness, the reasons are less important than what Magness and Wilburn need to keep the children fed, clothed and healthy. The construction of the barn is a small salvo in the ongoing struggle.

“Every month is a challenge. Our children need so much. Sometimes they come to us with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Our needs go far beyond food and shelter,” Wilburn said.

Wilburn added that TLC is always in need of donations, especially articles for babies.

TLC will be having a Military Ball Fund-raiser on May 24 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the American Legion Post in St. James City. It plans on honoring veterans while raising money for TLC kids.

For more information on how to donate, or about the Military Ball Fund-raiser, contact Wilburn at 542-4800, or visit the Web site at: www.tlccomplex.com.